Growing up as a young lad who constantly aspire for vastness and success, even if it wasn't a deliberate act, the only thing I never for one day stopped thinking about was how to soar high and meet with the stars. Never imagine myself in any other position than the crown, perhaps it was my name that wasn't letting me be, Aderemilekun, crown soothe my tears. I carry out things that makes people doubt my age, I myself at a point was so scared of the pace at which I was moving, some moments in my life I imagine if I’d ever understood some certain things which seems to be the central aspect of my life now, I was growing up mostly with the time of those whose generation were a bit above mine, I happen to be one of the few teenagers that will face whatsoever scholar (that could be old enough to be ten generations before mine) in an argument that I’m so sure of.
I listen a lot to elders that surrounded me, join discussions of whatsoever and I read wide, wherever I find myself, I am always the youngest but really sanctified with talent and for this reason I tend to attract people around not being cautious of it, I never believed, that perhaps one day I will ever have anything to do with a woman, my school was a single school which made me a complete foreigner to girls, I knew for sure one day I will get married but it wasn’t just in my negotiations then, for i wasn’t so wild about half raw barbecued snail and I detested the assault of loud music as well, so all these still keeps me under restriction of what my parent won’t want me to do, I try as much to be obedient, modest and respect others which I wasn’t acting out but was just part of me, and this aspect turns out to be one of the facet of my life I grew up with.
While in secondary school as a science student, I hated to read some certain subject but i only read them to pass exams, it could be important subjects like physics and chemistry but instead I prefer reading economics, history, literature, even as a science student and of cause solving mathematics which happens to be my preferred subject. I was always thinking of being an engineer one day, chemical engineer to be precise, I have heard my elder brothers and their friends discussing about how those working at oil companies in Nigeria and those off shore live extravagantly like there is no tomorrow, then I wanted to live and die as a rich man, so I began to nurture this half baked dream till I got to secondary school, strived hard to be in the science class after a lot of screening.
I will admit that i was a science student by ego in my high school days, but very early i understood that it was mere deception, i knew that my place wasn't there but for courage and in order to retain my self-esteem, i remained a science student, so i could be counted amongst the best students, but paradoxically, the only memorable and significant phase and aspect of my high school days was the fact that i was an active member of the Music and Theatre art club as we call it then in Ijeshatedo boys' secondary school, so very quickly, because there is no much to say about that aspect of my teenage-hood, i left secondary school in 2000 to join the Lagos state coucil for arts and culture in 2001, as an artiste in residence (as they call it then), there it was i began to question my being, to ask myself about my place in this whole confussion, at the art council i begin to define the kind of artiste i dreamt of being, i wasn't alright with the energy that flows around me, i wasn't ok going to "work" everyday and just sleeping or playing draft and football, so far i have finished learning all the dances that existed there at that time. No more initiation, no genuity, nothing seem to me as art, all we did was a re-showcase of the same pieces that were created decades ago, for i won't even call it art.
Though i was merely 17 years of age as at then but i have always wonder if we can ever produce another Fela Kuti in this 21st century, if another Bob marley could ever come to life, after seven months of making money i didn't even needed then, seven long month of running after politicians for tips and singing "Baba wa ni", seven months of improoving my footballs skills rather than my dance skills, after these seven long months of questions and no answers, i decided to quit all of a sudden, i disappointed my employer by disappearing without resignation, to re-appear at the Gongbeats arts, National theatre. Lagos, i thought perhaps, there i could improve, i could settle the questions of my inner mind to myself, i could at least be amongst artiste for life, for passion and not for money and survival, at the age of 17 my parents were still my guardian so i could take risks.
At Gongbeat i learnt, i was glad, i became rooted with the basics and essence of African dance, this is a dance troupe that was not so much interested in going to animate events for Coca Cola or Nigerian brewies, not so much busy with Unilever end of the year party nor Benson and Hedges road shows as other troupes around did in their quest for survival, we were involved in more demanding traning, initiating project that takes time to develop and i was very glad, i said to myself "yes, this is where i will love to be if i come bak to this life". However, very quickly, i began to develop a need for personal expression, that was also one of the gains of me bieng a Gongbeater, my coleagues and senior colleagues were not getting any younger, so their interest began to shift, they needed to decide about what to do with their lives, going back to school was one of their priority but as i had never for once believed in the idea of a university education, but believes in self development and personal effort, i began to have little or less interest in dances that were created long years ago, i wanted to be part of a new voice, part of a vanguard that will shake tomorrow.
I started getting interested in contemporary dance, for that was the dance form that was in the process of development in Nigeria then, i attended practically all dance workshops that took place in Lagos between 2000 and 2001, i became very common at the French Cultural Center. Ikoyi, i was hungry for knowledge, i was impatient. The Alajotas came from ibadan for two weeks workshop, while they gave a performance at the end, i was anticipating their arrival. I, like many other dancers were present during the first day, but many amongst us were disappointed because usually the FCC pays dancers for being part of a workshop (one of my disagreement with them, they were part of the corruption of Nigerian dancers), since i was not so much hungry for money and the Alajotas had just brought food for my actual hunger, i hung on to them and enjoyed every bit of their presence, i was glad, and i knew that i was fulfilling a very strong need.
The Alajotas performed "Onidundun" at the end of the day, this was the second contemporary dance piece i ever saw, it was sometimes in Janaury 2001, i was emptied after the show, full of vacuum, i wish to be on that stage performing with them not knowing that i was coming to be part of that piece. At the age of 17 i was employed by the Alajotas under the direction of Christopher Abdul in Ibadan, 120km away from Lagos, this was another season of encounters for me, my first work in Contemporary dance, i was to take the role of a dancer, in a trip to the African and indian ocean choreographic encounters in Madagascar (Sanga 2). The learning process was a challenge...
May 21, 2008
The times we live in can be rough, I know
but i'm not ignorant to the fact that
mountains can be brought down to ashes
lion can be called for a fight by insects,
I have seen snail bold enough to challenge the horse in a race.
I have see Mountains ten times the skyscraper
yet subdued by man,
moon can be as far as kutuwenji
still was dared by man as he walks therein.
here can be where my hope lies as I embark on my journey.
even if the storm threatens
and the heaven sent forth fire
i shall not want...
my passion will outshine my faith
my smile will overpass my pains
my vission shall overlap my dreams.
i shall not want...
i shall sleep and dream about my dreams
i shall aptly wake to pursue these dreams,
i have a dream that the summer does come
but after the winter storm
and i shall not want.
On Wednesday, May 21, 2008